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Combining the approaches of three fields of scholarship - political science, law and Russian area- tudies - the author explores the foundations and future of the Russian Federation. Russia's political elite have struggled to build an extraordinarily complex federal system, one that incorporates eighty-nine different units and scores of different ethnic groups, which sometimes harbor long histories of resentment against Russian imperial and Soviet legacies. This book examines the public debates, official documents and political deals that built Russia's federal house on very unsteady foundations, often out of the ideological, conceptual and physical rubble of the ancien regime. One of the major goals of this book is, where appropriate, to bring together the insights of comparative law and comparative politics in the study of the development of Russia's attempts to create - as its constitution states in the very first article - a 'Democratic, federal, rule-of-law state'